What a whirlwind of activity the last few days have been. Getting ready for a trek like this can take some time. Resupply boxes were packed, in fact my hubby has already mailed one out! Before I leave, there is already a box in transit. That’s efficiency.
Last weekend, my dearest friends hosted a send off for “yours truly.” The best of friends, all my hiking partners from days passed celebrated my returning to this way of life. As I looked around at the most beautiful women I know, I could only thank the Lord for such incredible and lifelong friendships. We laughed and toasted to the many treks we have shared, and the ones we have not yet experienced. We contemplated the many rewards and satisfaction we have gleaned from walking in the woods, and the memories and mishaps we recalled on the hikes we’ve completed. It was a hoot reliving the many miles we covered, the unexpected boat ride for a broken leg, the bears we scared away, the trail names we have earned and the countless passes we have climbed. There is something special when you share this story of worn out trail runners, our love for long distant backpacking, with such hearty souls. And to think, we have many more miles and smiles still to come.
Now that I have said farewell to the ones I care so deeply for, I can’t help to embrace the ones I have yet to meet. Who will the Lord lead me to? What will he have me share with them? And will I even know what to say? Thank goodness I need not fret because my sweet Jesus already has it planned for me.
As I arrive at the airport, my heart skips a beat. This is it, what I have set to accomplish months ago. The goal is to connect the dots from Catawba, Virginia near McAfee Knob to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. God-willing and my able part, I shall be placing my feet on the trail by noon tomorrow-Wednesday. There will be a gauntlet of obstacles to bypass like two plane rides to Washington D.C., subway to Union Station, Amtrak to Harpers Ferry and a good nights rest after being up for forty hours! I should’ve planned it better than this, but cheap flights are just that. Red-eye and packed planes are part of the adventure! Watching old movies, eating pretzels and drinking soda water, and hoping that your window seat has a little extra legroom.
Arriving in Boston after two hours, sorta, of sleep, I’m thinking 🤔 how come I’ve never been to this city? It is gorgeous. It is situated on the Atlantic Ocean with water on all sides. From up above, I’d think the city is floating on some offshore island. There was a huge cross, which lit up on a hill, protecting the airport and surrounding burbs from uncertain enemies and ferocious storms. I’m typically not an alarmist but these lowland parcels adorned with elegant homes appear to be hovering on a spit of sand. Call me crazy but California Wildfires have nothing on the Cape and it’s relentless pounding it must receive from the Northeasterns! Luckily for me I’m just passing through, but I definitely would love to come back and visit this gem of a place.
I wonder what Biden is up to today? I wasn’t invited to the White House this time around. Hard to believe but I do plan to make my way to Library of Congress. I love a good book to read while I’m waiting for my mid-afternoon train. So after going underground on the Metro, I surfaced at Union Square. This is the place where trains and buses converge. In US, we have one train and that’s Amtrak. I checked my backpack in for safe keeping at a going rate of $10 per bag. Now I am free to mill around D.C. First things first, find food. I asked the local Metro Police where to find a good diner. He pointed to an outdoor Deli that proved to be worthy of hearty eats. Now that I am full and satisfied, if I head to the Library I will definitely fall asleep. So I’m going to walk, and see what peaks my interest.
As I’m walking the plaza, I tuned into my daily words of wisdom from Bayside Church. Pastor Kevin shared with me today that God created me, gave me my own thoughts and desires, emotions and purpose. The interesting part of all this is, no matter what happens, I am only in control of myself. I cannot dictate what my friends or family choose to do or how they live. That is entirely up to them, but what I can do is influence them in a positive manner, filling them with hope and love. This has been a tough lesson for me as I tend to find responsibility in how others turn out. Did I lead them astray, did I not come down hard enough or did they just choose different paths? When you have children or grandchildren for that matter who make life-altering decisions, how do you respond? In love or denial? With hope or frustration? Or a bit of all the above? As I was praying about this, I have to confess, it is hard to make tough choices! It is difficult to accept that someone you love so dearly can make a choice that drastically alters their course. Yet God tells us that if you raise a child in love, and you teach him the ways of the Lord, they will return. So part of my journey this year is allowing myself some grace, and trusting God that he will be the compass, not me. That our Jehovah will always give us a second chance or a hundredth opportunity to find our way back. And that I can only control myself, influence others and expect God to be God!
One of the most iconic and revered buildings in the world, the US Capitol is home of our governing officials. The history of the United States Capitol Building begins in 1793. Since then, the U.S. Capitol has been built, burnt, rebuilt, extended and restored. The Capitol that we see today is the result of several major periods of construction; it stands as a monument to the ingenuity, determination and skill of the American people.
Daily, our Congress meets, convenes, argues and disagrees in this building. I wonder if it was like that in the 1800’s? Probably so but maybe not as public. Without the instant media and social networks, it could take weeks, if not months to share the news of discontentment! And maybe, just maybe they could all work it out before it hit the press. D.C. is hustling and bustling place with lots of Business Suits, High Heels and News Reporters! I think I’ll keep heading east to the trail. Not my cup of tea.
Heading back to Union Station, I took a rest on the lawn. I was a bit concerned as I didn’t see anyone else laying on the grass. Hopefully I won’t be picked up for vagrancy. I’m not pitching my tent but I definitely am a bit out of place. There are no camps setup, nothing on the manicured lawns or the sidewalks. Not a single encampment in front of the rail station, only a few Town Criers but they are moving along. Maybe it’s too cold in D.C. or possibly Biden won’t tolerate any homelessness in his city!Whatever it is, they keep a tidy community here. No trash, no filth, everything is in its place. San Francisco should get some useful tips from our Nation’s Capitol.
My final leg before I arrive in Harpers Ferry. Amtrak, here I come. I took Amtrak when I returned from the Colorado Trail a couple of years back. I really like traveling on a train as they explore the best scenery our States can offer. I’m sure this route will be much of the same. Harpers Ferry is rich in historic value. It is the easternmost town of West Virginia, established in 1751 with a Population of 285. During the Civil War, it was the northern most point held by the Confederate-controlled Territory. Situated on the Shenandoah and Potomac River Confluence, Harpers Ferry is where Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia meet. And it is the Appalachian Trail Headquarters 😊 where I pick up my coveted Trail tag.
Good thing I bought my ticket last week. This train is sold out! Who would’ve thunk? It’ll be a relatively short ride, one hour. The gal sitting next to me is headed for Chicago. She has a long ways to go. With a little bit of luck, I’ll be supine before long. No evangelism today. The Holy Spirit is sleepy. Just shortly after 5pm, the train came to a slow speed stop and I exited. The Town’s Inn is up a flight of many stairs on the street overlooking the River and train tracks. Such a quaint little town.
I checked in to my room for the night. It has two single beds and I have both beds to myself. Oh, glorious beds! One was firm and one is soft, so I am sleeping on my nice firm bed, overlooking the Potomac River. It’s absolutely perfect. I walked the town a bit and gathered my bearings. I’ll get up and have breakfast in the morning, head up to the ATC, check-in, then hit the trail running. Until Wednesday, I’m heading to bed. This girl is wiped out and needs some shuteye. Oh, my little suite has a Bible and small devotional books. Jesus has me right where I need to be.